When I woke up last Saturday the first thing I saw were some we chat messages with the shocking news from Paris. I was on the way to the SPL U8 league at SCSC when some parents notified me that the pollution was really bad. I tried to tell them that it was not too bad and put up a happy face so that at least the young boys and girls will not know what happened and so that they can enjoy playing the sport they love so much. My phone showed 180 PMI so we started the games but half way 5 teams out of 8 stopped the games and went home as they read pollutions levels over 200 on their phones. In Puxi another youth league was cancelled as well. How does Xi Jing Ping want to develop football in China if the young children cannot play because of pollution ! How long do the normal day to day people have to inhale this bad air ?
While I had to wait for our game against Japan my thought went back to 1994. I worked in Buenos Aires in one of the high rise buildings. Suddenly we heard a loud bang and the building was shaking. There was a massive mushroom cloud far from our office in the sky. Suddenly I realized that the place of the cloud was close to my hotel. I told my boss that I better went to take a look but when I arrived the devastation of the bomb was beyond all imagination. It was total chaos several building were destroyed there was a human chain with volunteers keeping the people out of the street. Here I learned a valuable lesson of live as I could see people wanting to go in to look for relatives but on the other side I could also see people trying to get in to steal belongings as in those days Argentina was very poor. I was dazed like you are in a scene of a movie but this time it was for real. My hotel room was destroyed and 67 people were killed. They bombed the embassy of Israel and several buildings close to it. The Sunday before the bombing my boss who is jewish told me to meet in front of the embassy of Israel as he would pick me up for lunch……!
It was hard to coach the game against Japan as whatever you try to tell your players its suddenly less relevant if you think about what happened in France. The issue is deeper than just the Paris attacks and there is no quick solution. All I said is that we were blessed to play football and that’s is the real truth every time we step on the fields with our friends we should be thank full ! Japan played their game of the lives and kept us at 0-0 at half time. We played well with good spirit but couldn’t find the final shot on target. Only when japan on rare occasions moved forward to attack we got the best opportunities to counter them. In the second half we tried to get the 1-0 but instead Japan outplayed our defense and the Japanese player lobbed the ball behind our goalie. We tried hard to come back in the game and did it by a penalty from Azzeddine. The best chance to take all three points came 5 minutes before the end when Danni was launched by Radouane and went one on one with the Japanese goalie. Unfortunately he couldn’t finish it and it stayed 1-1. Credit to the Japanese team especially their goalie who was outstanding ! We can live with the result and try to improve in our next game.
On behalf of all the Lions we give our condolences to all the victims in France and wish all the family and friends strength in the difficult days ahead ! Be strong !
A Sad Lions President Freek